Whether you are organising a party, a fair, a concert, a raffle, a sports competition, a flea market, an exhibition or a conference, it would often be risky to ignore the regulations.
The regulations, without infringing on the freedom to demonstrate, provide a framework for the event and prevent risks and damage that may be caused to oneself or to others.
The Nkol-Afamba council reminds us of the framework in which public meetings and demonstrations take place.
The organisation of a demonstration on the public highway in the Nkol-Afamba municipality, as everywhere else in Cameroon, is based on three stages:
- The request for authorisation to demonstrate to the head of district or subdivisional officer
- Expecting the authorities' decision
- The organisation of the event
Any meeting held in a public place or place open to the public is public in nature. Public meetings, whatever their purpose, are free. However, they must be declared in advance. Unless special authorisation is given, meetings on the public highway are prohibited.
The above declaration shall be made to the Head of District or the subdivisional officer on whose territory the meeting is to be held at least three days before it is to take place. It shall indicate the surnames, firstnames and home address of the organisers, the purpose of the meeting, the place, date and time of its holding, and shall be signed by one of them.
The authority receiving the declaration shall immediately issue the receipt.
Every public meeting must have an office composed of at least three persons responsible for maintaining order, preventing any breach of the law, prohibiting any speech which is contrary to public order and morality, or likely to incite the commission of acts classified as a crime or offence. The administrative authority may delegate a representative to attend the meeting.
Only the board may suspend or stop the meeting. However, in the event of an overflow, the representative of the administrative authority, if expressly requested by the bureau, may terminate the meeting.
According to the law n°90/055 of 19 December 1990 fixing the regime of public meetings and demonstrations, any non-profit association can organise a demonstration. This is a meeting of a protest nature that takes place on the public highway (expression of a collective trade union, political or other collective conviction). It may require the closure of the public highway and traffic. It may be fixed or move in a procession.
Exceptions to the obligation referred to in the first paragraph shall be made for outings on the public highway in accordance with local or religious traditions and customs.
The declaration shall be made to the district or subdivisional office where the event is to take place at least seven days before the date of the event.
It shall indicate the surnames, first names and home address of the organisers, the purpose of the event, the Place, date and time of the gathering and, if applicable, the route chosen, and shall be signed by one of the electing homes in the chief town or district.
The head of the district or the subdivisional officer who receives the declaration shall immediately issue a receipt for it. However, if he or she considers that the planned demonstration is likely to seriously disturb public order, he or she may, where appropriate :
- Assign it to another place or route;
- Prohibit by order that he immediately notifies the signatory of the declaration at the elected domicile.
In the event of a ban on the event, the organiser may, by simple request, refer the matter to the president of the competent high court, who shall give a ruling by order within eight days of the matter being referred to him, after hearing the parties in council chambers.
Penal and miscellaneous provisions
Without prejudice, where appropriate, to the prosecution of crimes and offences, any person shall be punished by the penalties laid down in Article 231 of the Criminal Code:
- Participates in the organisation of a public meeting which has not been declared ahead of time;
- Makes a declaration of such a nature as to mislead the authorities as to the conditions or purpose of the meeting;
Is punished by the same penalties:
- Before filing the declaration or after the legal prohibition of a demonstration, addresses, by any means whatsoever, a summons to take part in it;
- Makes an incomplete or inaccurate declaration of such a nature as to mislead as to the conditions of the planned event.
The penalties provided for in the previous article shall be imposed on the organisers of any public demonstration without the required declaration or after notification of the legal ban.
The regime of public meetings during electoral campaigns shall be determined by electoral law.